Calochortus: characteristics, planting and care

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Calochortu – bulbous plant from the lily family. Valued for inflorescences of an unusual shape, similar to moths. This beautiful flower always stands out in flowerbeds and flower beds. The plant is used in the garden in a wide variety of compositions.


Calochortus – a herbaceous flowering plant with a thin flexible branched stem. Its height is 20 – 200 cm. The leaves are narrow, linear, form a basal rosette. Several leaf blades are located on the stem itself.

The inflorescences are umbellate, consist of large, up to 8 – 10 cm in diameter, six petal buds of white, pink, lilac, yellow, red colors. In some species, the petals are covered with numerous spots of a contrasting shade. Flowering occurs in spring or summer, depending on the species.

Like all representatives of the Lily family, calochortus have bulbs covered with dense scales. From them thin thread-like roots are formed. It is noteworthy that in some countries the bulbs of this crop are eaten boiled or fried.


Calochortus venustus. A branching bush 15–70 cm high. Leaf plates are belt-like, bluish-green in color, collected in a rosette. Stem leaves are absent. Inflorescences – umbrellas consist of six bell-shaped flowers. There is a pattern on the surface of the petals. The color of the buds is varied.

Calochortus luteus. A low plant with a straight, slightly branching stem 20–30 cm high. Inflorescences 3 cm in diameter, rich yellow color. There is a brown spot in the central part of the buds.

Calochortus superbus. Reaches 40 cm in height. It is a dense shrub with straight, slightly branching stems. Flowers solitary, white, with a variegated pattern in the central part. When describing this type of calochortus, it is worth noting not only the exotic contour of the flowers, but also the unpretentiousness of the plant to growing conditions. Under natural conditions, it settles in rocky areas. Able to do without moisture for a long time.

Calochortus vestae. The plant reaches 30 – 50 cm in height. The leaf plates are narrow, pointed at the end, bright green, collected in a basal rosette. The color of the buds is snow-white and purple. In the central part of the flowers there is a yellow-brown pattern.

Calochortus tolmiei. Reaches 10 – 50 cm in height. A single bell-shaped bud, 3 cm in diameter, is formed on the stem.

As you can see in the photo, the color of the inflorescences of the Calochortus Tolmi can be white, yellow, cream:

Calochortus monophyllus. The height of this variety does not exceed 20 cm. The buds have a lemon yellow color. The center of the flowers is brown, with a fleecy border.

Calochortus uniflorus. This type of calochortus is valued for its spectacular flowers, the petals of which are of a delicate lilac hue, the core is decorated with a purple pattern. The stem is straight, unbranched, reaches 30 cm in height. Inflorescences consist of four flowers with a diameter of 3-4 cm.

Calochortus amabilis. It grows up to 40 – 70 cm. It has narrow belt-like leaf plates of a bright green color, 20 cm long. Flowers, drooping wide open, are collected in inflorescences of 3 – 14 pieces. The color of the fringed petals is golden yellow, there is a brown spot in their center.

Calochortus minimus). Differs in the compact sizes. The height of the bush is 10 – 15 cm. In the root zone of the stem, a leaf rosette is formed from a pair of dark green leaf plates. The inflorescence is umbrella, consists of 8 – 10 small snow-white buds.

Growing seedlings

Calochortus seeds have a high germination rate, so every gardener can get this culture. Sowing material in the spring is immediately sown on the site, scattering it over the surface of the ridge and covering it with a rake. You can also plant them before winter, deepening into the soil by 2 – 2.5 cm.

Heat-loving varieties are grown by seedling method. To do this, prepare a small container of medium size, fill it with nutrient soil, then evenly distribute the seeds on top, slightly pressing.

Moisten the substrate from a spray bottle, cover with a film or glass. Remove crops on a windowsill with diffused bright light. The air temperature in the room where the crops will be kept should be 18 – 20 degrees.

When caring for crops, the greenhouse should be opened daily for ventilation, moistened as the topsoil dries out. After the appearance of sprouts, the shelter will need to be removed.

By June, bulbs should form at the seedlings, after which it should be put on an open loggia or in a garden under a canopy. At the beginning of summer, young developing plants need to be fed using a small dose of the mineral complex. Seedlings can be planted on the site after two winterings. Flowering will come in the third year after planting the seeds.

Reproduction by bulbs

The bulbous propagation method is simpler than the seed one, since it allows you to get healthy plants in a short time without much effort and time. At the end of flowering, they dig out the mother bushes, separate the bulbs, leaving the largest and strongest of them.

Planting material is removed for 5 – 7 days to dry in a well-ventilated warm place. After that, they are cleaned in paper or cloth bags. Store until planting in open ground at a temperature of 10 – 14 degrees. With the onset of spring, they are planted on the site.

Landing Features

The place for this culture should be bright enough. So that the scorching rays do not burn the plant, it is recommended to plant it in a light shade under the openwork crowns of trees. Not suitable for growing exotic flower places in drafts.

When choosing soil for planting calochortus in open ground and facilitating further care, it should be borne in mind that drainage is of great importance for this plant. The plant will not be able to develop in areas where moisture stagnates, the bulbs will quickly rot and the flower will die.

Elevations, raised flower beds and flower beds are suitable for this culture. The soil should be fertile, light, with high acidity. It is useful to add organic fertilizer to the soil before planting.

Before planting the bulbs in open ground, preparatory work should be carried out: place for half an hour in a weak solution of potassium permanganate, after this time, remove, rinse under running water, and dry.

For planting, make holes, the depth of which should be slightly larger than the diameter of the planting material. The bulb should fit freely in the recess. A layer of sand is laid at the bottom of the hole, then watering is carried out. After that, the bulb is buried, sprinkled with a layer of earth. The distance between the holes should be 5 – 10 cm.


  • Watering. Calochortuses are sensitive to soil moisture, but react more easily to a prolonged lack of moisture than to its excess. Therefore, when watering an exotic flower, it is important to observe moderation. It is enough to irrigate the bushes 1 – 2 times a week. In order for oxygen to freely penetrate to the roots, it is recommended to loosen the area near the bush after each watering.
  • Topdressing. Fertilizer is applied during the budding period, using a mineral complex for bulbous crops. In order for the bulbs to ripen well, you can make additional top dressing in any of the summer months, using a composition containing potassium.
  • Wintering. Asking the question of whether it is necessary to shelter calochortus for the winter, it is necessary to be guided by the degree of winter hardiness of the varieties available on the site. With the onset of frost, the stems are cut, leaving 7 – 10 cm, on top of the areas with plants sprinkled with a layer of mulch, dry foliage, non-woven material. At the end of flowering, heat-loving varieties are dug up, transplanted into containers, stored in a cool, dark place until spring.
  • Fight against diseases and pests. The bulbs of this culture are often affected by rodents: mice, rats, and sometimes rabbits. To preserve the bulbs before planting, they are placed in mesh baskets.

With stagnation of moisture in the soil caused by excessive watering or prolonged rainy weather, calochortus are affected by rot. For this reason, it is important to follow the recommendations for watering this crop and its location on the site.

Bulb storage. To protect the calochortus bulbs from low temperatures, gardeners dig them up with the onset of autumn, clear them of the ground. Dry outside under a canopy for 2 to 4 days. Store in boxes in a dark place at a temperature of 5 – 10 degrees. In the spring, with the onset of warm days, they are planted on the site.

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